When the great Svetlana Khorkina retired after the 2004 Olympics and the code of points changed, it was time for the new generation of gymnasts to try to deliver the performance once Russia was known for in gymnastics.

As a junior, Yulia Lozhechko was a very promising gymnast. At the 2004 European Junior championships she won gold with her team, silver on the balance beam and a bronze in the all around. In 2005, Yulia turned senior, she competed at European championships where she won a bronze medal in the all around and at World championships where she placed 7th due to a fall. Lozhechko hit her peak in 2007 and became a European beam champion.

At that year she went to the World championship where a controversy started over her behavior. During the qualification Yulia changed her balance beam dismount to a double Arabian instead of an easy double back on the spur of the moment in order to have a higher D score. Nonetheless she fell and didn’t qualify for the event final.


Because of this incident Lozhechko was banned from the national training center in Round Lake as a disciplinary sanction. The national head coach Andrei Rodionenko stated she doesn’t deserve to train with the team and has to follow her own program with her personal coach until the end of the year.

He then blamed Yulia for lying: “She said that none of the coaches told her about making the easier dismount. She also declared that we want to make everything possible to pull her out from the team. How dare she? The federation is spending millions in gymnastics and the main goal is to have results and we would never do it to one of our leaders . Her problem is that she is an egoist and doesn’t think about the team and the fact that we lost a medal because of her.” 

It is noteworthy that the fault of Kramarenko who balked on her vault attempt and scored a zero thus dropping the team from bronze medal position to disappointing 8th place, was taken much easier than what Lozhechko did.

This type of sanction was applied for Maxim Deveatovski in the same period, and earlier to Nikolay Kriukov and Anna Pavlova. 
Yulia wasn’t selected to the 2008 European team. The federation claimed she is not in shape. Although she was included in the squad for 2008 Olympic Games , she wasn’t selected to be a part of the team. The reasons were vague “Sadly, she doesn’t match our standards ” declared Rodionenko. Not being chosen to go to the Olympics caused the gymnast serious psychological problems. After 2008 she quilted elite gymnastics, however she participated at the Universiade in 2011 where she won bronze in the team finals. 
Written by Anastasia Bostanaru


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